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Morning Coffee Feb 23

Toronto Sun

“I’m not sure; I’m still in a little pain right now,” Bosh said. “We’re fortunate enough to have a few days in between games and we’re being really aggressive with the treatment and we’ll see how it is Wednesday.”

His practice yesterday, in his own words, consisted of “Walk around, sit down, shoot free throws. Yeah, I’m bored, man.”

Helping ease that boredom is the fact that his teammates have got the job done without him so far and the team as a whole has put itself in a good position heading into the final 27 games.

“This is a tough stretch for us going into March,” Bosh said. “March is a tough month for us and we did what we needed to do to build our confidence with the schedule that we had lately. Now we are playing better teams, have to focus a bit more.”

Bosh said he has been able to handle this absence from the court better than he has in the past.

“I don’t go crazy anymore,” Bosh said. “Usually on the bench (when he’s not playing) it’s a lot tougher and I go crazy sometimes. This year I’m a lot more calm. I can watch a game. I’m just trying not to make it too many.”

Toronto Sun

Since Oliver Miller left the Raptors for good back on Feb. 1, 1999, his name has been in the Raptors record books alongside the likes of, dare we say, more deserving Raptors such as Damon Stoudamire, Morris Peterson, Doug Christie, Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon to name a few.

Nesterovic took care of that Saturday when he went five-for-seven from the field to surpass the 1,000 field goal attempts as a Raptor and thereby qualify for standing in the all-time franchise leader in field goal percentage.

Nesterovic’s mark of .545 easily surpassed Miller’s mark of .509 knocking the Big O off the perch he has held for far too long.

“I’ve got no comment on that,” Nesterovic said laughing following practice on Monday.

“But I played with Oliver when I was in Minnesota.

“We’re pretty much the same height and the same weight.”

Toronto Sun

A veteran of nine seasons in the NBA and coming off a run to the finals last season with Orlando, Turkoglu knows exactly what it takes at that time of year and if he’s going to build on his reputation as a post-season game-breaker, he’s going to have to get his game to another level than it has been thus far in Toronto.

Raptors head coach Jay Triano knows how much a fully engaged Turkoglu can alter his team’s fortunes, but he wasn’t prepared to make any declarations one way or the other on Monday about Turkoglu.

“I think he’s starting to get there,” Triano said sounding more optimistic than certain. “But he’s a 10-year vet. He knows how to play games, he knows how to finish games and he knows how to play the league.”

The inference being that when it’s time to get serious, Turkoglu will get serious. Whether that time is right now or closer to the playoffs, he wasn’t saying.

Second last off the practice floor Monday spoke volumes, however, about Turkoglu’s intentions.

Toronto Star

"Lots of energy and guys who do the right thing – set screens, roll hard," is what the coach sees. "Sometimes, they’re not going to be as polished as a Chris Bosh is with the ball or as Andrea (Bargnani is) in efficient scoring so we tend to go to more movement stuff and see if we can use their strengths, which is setting good screens, rolling hard, rebounding and battling at the defensive end."

Evans and Johnson, the former a bruiser and the latter more athletic, do change the tempo of the game when they’re out there together.

They got about five minutes as a tandem on Friday in New Jersey and about another 10 on Saturday against Washington.

"I think, energy-wise, they bring something that we don’t really have," said Jarrett Jack. "They create a lot of havoc defensively, being that both of them can pick up full court and give us a lift, maybe moreso on the defensive end, that can spawn some easier transition baskets."

National Post

"Quick and squirmy, two words," Triano said of Jack’s style. "He gets there quick and he squirms it up and in. That’s not a basketball term."

It works, though. The only time Jack finishes with a standard-issue layup is when it is uncontested. When he is in traffic, he bends, contorts, spins — pick your verb — to get the job done. It looks unnatural. Often, it looks awful.

It worked on Saturday night. Jack scored the first nine points of a defining 16-2 late-game run to clinch an in-doubt game. Without the injured Chris Bosh, the Raptors lacked their best crunch-time option. Jack’s strange assortment of moves took the reigns. And it is no accident that he can finish successfully while looking so primed for failure.

"That’s just something that I picked up when I was younger because when I played in the neighbourhood, I played with the older kids," Jack said. "All of them were bigger than me, so I kind of got a knack of finishing around bigger guys or taking contact from some stronger guys and still getting the ball up on the rim or on the backboard. I kind of have a number of ways of doing it. It’s something that just happens over time."


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